Stacks On!  In Your Face with a Business Case

Huzzah!  Christina Aguilera is coming to perform a one-off show in Melbourne later this year.  The breathless announcement came earlier this week and made clear that this event is not a result of mere happenstance but has come to be because of a fabulous Government initiative.  Hooray for everyone!  But as overwhelmed with excitement as I am to the point of being barely able to function, given the recent somewhat unpleasant business involving a major international sporting event being dumped with all the dignity of a soiled mattress, it’s incumbent on all of us to ask one, simple question – does the business case stack up?

I’ll be honest; there was a time when I thought a ‘business case’ was the thing you used to take your lunch to work.  When I got my first office job, my business case was one I’d acquired from a second-hand store.  It was old and falling apart.  At one point, the handle unravelled; meaning that when I carried it, errant staples dug into the palm of my hand.  Then the bottom fell out, along with my lunch.  It was at that point that I decided that this particular business case no longer stacked up and I replaced it with a satchel.

I’ve since become aware that a business case is a key determinant as to whether something should or shouldn’t happen.  Often, they’re associated with large-scale events but there’s no reason why they couldn’t also help inform everyday activities.  Just yesterday, I declined to unload the dishwasher because the business case didn’t stack up.  This was in stark contrast to the dishes themselves, which stacked up quite neatly.  Having weighed up the likely economic cost and benefit of emptying the dishwasher, I concluded that the most fiscally responsible course from here on out would be to eat with my hands.  It’s working a treat.

I’m beginning to see everything in a completely different light.  I’ve decided that before I next agree to put the bins out, I should refer the question to an inquiry and see what the experts have to say.  From there, I’ll probably form some kind of committee to reject the report before engaging a second set of more expensive experts to give me another report that recommends the development of a business case.  Granted, by the time it’s done, there may well be rubbish piled up to the roof, but if I do ultimately decide to take the bins out, it’ll be a decision that’s supported by the best information available.  There’ll be no question that it stacks up.

For those of you who think the very idea of a business case is as interesting as sewing a button or cleaning the lint from your uncle’s favourite jacket, I can only say that you are monstrously mistaken.  A business case is so much more that a set of figures and financial analysis.  A decent business case is like a wild stallion that is prone to being spooked and easily startled.  It’s for this reason that opposing sides to an argument can have conflicting views on whether a particular business case stacks up or stacks down.

But what recent weeks have demonstrated is that you no longer need two opposing sides to have conflicting views over a business case.  Rather, you need only one side and about fifteen months to undergo the metamorphosis from ‘stacked’ to ‘unstacked’.  This, it must be said, is groundbreaking. 

Previously, I was unaware that a business case could, in effect, go off like a carton of milk in the sun if given enough time.  Who was responsible for leaving the business case out of the fridge has, to date, not been satisfactorily answered and, I feel, whether or not an answer will or won’t be given may, of itself, be the subject of a business case.

Clearly, a business case can be a volatile thing, capable of turning at any moment, striking out at anyone unfortunate enough to be standing nearby.  What’s not clear is how something that, last year, stacked up, was a short time later found to be wanting; failing to stack up to the point of complete collapse.  Like fiscal Jenga, did someone pull out a vital block that caused the entire business case stack to collapse?  Who can say?

But if there’s anything that the calamitous experience of not hosting the Commonwealth Games has taught us, it’s that you should always have a Plan B.  I, for one, do not want a situation where Christina Aguilera is turned away at customs after arriving at Tullamarine Airport.  Luckily, I have the perfect solution.

As a teenager, I was in a band called 20/20 Vision. Once we played the Hastings Day Parade on a flatbed truck.  We stood on the back of that thing, trying to keep our balance as the generator powered our amps and guitars.  People loved it.  Mostly they loved the fact that we were moving and they only had to suffer through our original songs for a few seconds before we were gone, but they loved it all the same. 

If, God forbid, the business case should unexpectedly unstack itself before the big performance, my hope is that we can dig out the flatbed and the generator and send Christina Aguilera sailing down High Street Hastings on a Saturday morning.  Granted, she’s a fabulous artist who deserves more than a flatbed truck.  But I figure while it may not be ‘Beautiful’, at least it stacks up.